Holy Thursday – April 6, 2023
One of the aspects of the Last Supper that perhaps, we don’t often bring to mind,
- a commemoration of God’s deliberate choice to free the Jewish slaves in Egypt.
- The freedom God brought about was an act of justice by God, that established a new and eternal covenant between God and his chosen people.
We don’t like to think of slavery today, though, because the word ‘slave’ evokes a dark chapter of the history of our own church and our country, when many people were violently taken from their homeland and forcibly made the property of landowners and forced to work and live, oftentimes in substandard conditions, often tearing slave families apart.
And because they were slaves, they had no rights or recourse.
And while that Passover meal celebrated the physical liberation of the Jewish slaves from Egyptian domination, Jesus’ Last Supper went even further.
- It proclaimed the liberation from slavery to sin, for each and every believer.
- By foreshadowing Jesus’ impending suffering and death on the cross and the shedding of his most Precious Blood in atonement for our sins
- This sacrificial dimension to the Eucharist then, is meant to make real, each time we come together —the death of Jesus on the Cross— and his promise to enter into a new and eternal covenant with the gathered assembly through reception of Jesus’ very body and blood, that we eat and drink, in the form of bread and wine.
- But Jesus’ Last Supper goes even further than that!
- Jesus’ Last Supper proclaims God’s desire that we all be freed from slavery to…
- addictions to alcohol, drugs, or sex
- old mindsets and prejudices
- financial greed and the accumulation of possessions
- unjust labor laws, or to unfair employment policies
- rich corporations exploiting the poor for profit
- human trafficking and prostitution
- hopelessness, despair and grief and other forms of mental illness
- from anyone and anything that makes us less that God has created us to be
To be a Eucharistic people then, means being persons of Justice, who seek the freedom that is a constitutive value of the Kingdom of God.
It means we have to get up — out of our comfortable seats— and be of service to one another, even when it’s hard and inconvenient, even when we’re busy and content!
Tonight’s foot-washing ceremony highlights this essential aspect of our Eucharistic celebration.
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